Tawana Robinson has a heartfelt message she’d like to express to her mother, Marie Odum.
“Mom, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you’ve done and are doing,” Robinson said. “I love you so much. May God continue to shower you with blessings.”
In kicking off MemphiSport’s “Salute to Mother Day 2015,” Robinson, sensed it was only befitting to pay homage to her mother who, according to her, is widely known as the “family, church, and neighborhood paramedic.”
“If anyone is sick, Marie will be there,” Robinson said. “My mom stands out in so many ways.”
To grasp a thorough understanding of just how appreciative Robinson is of her mother, look no further than the seemingly tumultuous circumstances that surrounded Odum’s life some 15 years ago.
At the time, Odum was forced to retire from the Memphis Fire Department after she sustained what Robinson described as “multiple injuries.” Odum, who also was a paramedic, was injured during a fire while carrying a number of patients and fulfilling other essential duties.
Although such injuries had given way to an unceremonious departure from a job she held for a little more than a decade, Robinson said among the things she recall was how her mother had steadfastly clung to a spirited disposition.
“She never lost her beautiful smile,” Robinson said. “She would always say, ‘Everything happens for a reason’ and ‘It’s okay.’”
Approximately five years later, more disheartening news had struck Robinson’s family.
Robinson, in fact, had become what she deemed as “gravely ill” after being diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson, which is a form of toxic epidermal necrolysis and a life-threatening skin condition in which cell death causes the epidermis to separate from the dermis. According to a report on MayoClinic.org, Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a medical emergency that usually requires hospitalization. Treatment focuses on eliminating the underlying cause, controlling symptoms and minimizing complications.
As Robinson explained, “My mom along with my Aunt Bea were faced with making a hard decision. They were told I wouldn’t survive and should consider taking me off life support. With her strong faith in God, along with family and friends, a prayer chain started. My mom decided she wouldn’t make a decision until I was on life support for seven days.”
Fortunately for Robinson, a mother of two (Omarie and Tamia), she managed to survived what was an apparent near-death experience, thanks in large part to the unyielding love and support of her mother.
Today, more than ever before, Mother’s Day essentially has taken on a whole new meaning as far as Robinson is concerned.
“Growing up in the church, her parents taught her seven was the number of completion,” Robinson said. “Despite pressure from doctors, my mom and aunt stood firmly on God’s word. Through grace and mercy, I made a full recovery with my mom, close family, and friends by my side. I was down for 1 ½ years. My mom cared for me and my one-year-old old son until I was able to work again. I feel there aren’t enough words to describe how much she means to her entire family. When I talk about her all I can say is, “That’s my girl.”
Which, of course, is why Robinson has yet another heartfelt message she’d like to express to her mother.
“In my eyes she’s simply amazing,” Robinson said.
Now we know why.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Whether your mother is living or deceased, if you would like to pay homage to your mom, grandmother, wife, girlfriend, etc., with a unique Mother’s Day tribute that will feature an in-depth story like this one, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.
Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson also covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.